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Arts centre offers to help after blaze

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 17, 2014

  • GV - Burton Brewhouse..

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COUNCIL chiefs have offered up the use of a Burton arts centre after it was revealed Derby Assembly Rooms will be closed for a minimum of 18 months after a recent fire.

Bosses at East Staffordshire Borough Council told the Mail that they had extended an olive branch to Derby City Council after learning the popular city venue would have to stay shut following a blaze which tore through the roof of the car park four weeks ago.

They have offered up the use of the Union Street, Burton, venue to house any ‘suitable’ arts events while the city council decides whether to either refurbish or replace the Assembly Rooms.

A spokesman for the borough council said: “We have made contact with the Assembly Rooms to offer our facility should there be anything suitable.”

The closure will mean hundreds of performances will be cancelled, although people will be refunded.

An investigation into the fire, which happened on Friday, March 14, found that it started in an air conditioning unit on the top floor of the car park and is believed to have been caused by overheated machinery.

The city council has said customers who have bought tickets for shows later this year at the Assembly Rooms will be reimbursed in due course, and those with tickets for shows in April and May will be contacted first by the Derby Live box office.

The Assembly Rooms inferno bore similarities to one which devastated the Brewhouse in 1996, forcing it to close for around six months.

Ken Brown, a former Brewhouse worker and volunteer, recalled the aftermath of the fire.

He said: “It was not all easy going. A fire in the box office in May 2006 closed the centre for six months.”

Things returned to normal in December 2006, with a rewired and refurbished theatre auditorium and a new box office area.

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